clock menu more-arrow no yes
[Photo via The Morrissey
[Photo via The Morrissey

Shh! Vancouver's Best Bartenders Share Their Bar Picks

View as Map
[Photo via The Morrissey

We asked some of the city's best bartenders to share their hidden cocktail bar gems with us. They had to be a little off the beaten track, definitely not-so-well-known and - essentially - a warm, welcoming joint where you're guaranteed splendid drinks, generous hospitality and fine music. Here's their top picks in Vancouver.
Do you have a cocktail bar gem to share? Let us know in the comments.


Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bayside Lounge

Copy Link
1755 Davie St., Vancouver
British Columbia V6G 2K6, Canada
Ron Oliver of Mamie Taylor's: Down in the West End, the Bayside Lounge is the perfect secret bar because you don't know anyone there so it's always a good place to misbehave. What to drink? Something with Blue Curaçao.

2. The Morrissey

Copy Link
1227 Granville St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2G6, Canada
(604) 682-0909
Visit Website
Bittered Sling and Uva's Lauren Mote: So, The Morrissey has a 16 cocktail list, yeah, I helped them with that, but you can go any time of the day until 2 or 3 in the morning and have kick ass cocktails and listen to incredible music - it’s always amazing. The room is totally weird-looking, it’s all red and black and old-school. I’d have a Betty Monster, with a pint of Guinness on the side and a shot of Jamesons. I like to have three drinks at one time.

3. The Shebeen Whisk(e)y House

Copy Link
212 Carrall St, Vancouver
BC Canada, Canada
(604) 688-9779
Visit Website
Jay Jones: When I want to hide from the world and have some of the best drinks and hospitality in the city...I head to the Irish Heather, weave my way past the crowded front room and through the passageway behind, sneaking into The Shebeen Whisk(e)y House. Barman Randy Gaudreau oversees one of the finest and most extensive Whisk(e)y collections in the city; with humble character and honest care.

4. Notturno

Copy Link
280 Carrall Street, Vancouver
British Columbia V6B2J1, Canada
(604) 720-3145
Jason Laidlaw, veteran bartender currently at the Vancouver Rowing Club: The Notturno, where H works, right next to the Irish Heather. H makes barrel-aged cocktails, he's just one of the best cocktail bartenders in the city. I'd have a Manhattan or pretty much anything he made me.

5. Calabash Bistro

Copy Link
428 Carrall St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2J7, Canada
(604) 568-5882
Visit Website
Robyn Gray from PiDGiN: It's a little off the beaten path but they are one of our neighbours here in Gastown and they have a really great rum selection, the most of any bar in the city and they make amazing cocktails. Try the Dark and Stormy there which they make with house-made ginger beer - it's to die for.

6. The Union

Copy Link
219 Union St, Vancouver
BC V6A 2B2, Canada
(604) 568-3230
Visit Website
Donnie Wheeler, self-styled "guerrilla bartender" says: Check out the Union Bar, a barman like no other Arthur Wynne minds the stick there. It's southeast Asian/South Pacific in its mindset. Fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients are their forte; it often looks like an Asian farmers market behind the bar. The Phuket Coconut Spritzer is wonderful - its "slap in the face/ then reach around" balance makes me crave one just thinking about it, but it's the staff and Arthur that seal the deal everytime.

7. Narrow Lounge

Copy Link
1898 Main St, Vancouver
BC V5T 3B7, Canada
(778) 737-5206
Visit Website
Reflections and Cuchillo's Julia Diakow is a fan of the Narrow Lounge: They're not really doing anything too crazy with their cocktail list but have a good mix of classics and darker spirits. It's a wicked hidden gem; a grimy door outside leads to an artsy-type-meets-dive-bar inside. It's got a real Seattle-vibe and it's good for people watching and a beer with a shot of whiskey.

8. Ouisi Bistro

Copy Link
3014 Granville Street, Vancouver
Canada V6H 3J8, Canada
(604) 732-7550
Visit Website
The Keefer's Dani Tatarin: I first discovered this place when I moved to Vancouver almost 12 years ago as a brunch place - they have awesome Mint Juleps...but I quickly learned they were open late and also have a great night atmosphere, drinks, spirit selection and live music. They are on Granville & 14th so it's a bit out of my East Van/Chinatown bubble but I love it.

9. Grub

Copy Link
4328 Main St., Vancouver
BC V5V 3P9, Canada
(604) 876-8671
Visit Website
Sean Hewlett from Bambudda: This was the first Vancouver bar to serve an exclusively gin menu and they have a full punch programme too. It's a tucked-away little gem of a place where I first had a Pimm's Cup. Oh! And it is one of the best spots in the city for Valentine's Day.

10. The Shameful Tiki Room

Copy Link
Grant Sceney from the Fairmont Pacific Rim: The Shameful Tiki Room is typically not within my normal cocktail circuit but I love going there when I can venture out to Main and 28th. There really isn’t anything like it in the city, from the moment you walk in, it’s as they say ‘a bygone tiki era experience’. It’s a great small intimately lit room with a good selection of tropical rum cocktails and tapas. If you’re feeling adventurous, I suggest ordering the ‘the mystery bowl’.

1. Bayside Lounge

1755 Davie St., Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 2K6, Canada
Ron Oliver of Mamie Taylor's: Down in the West End, the Bayside Lounge is the perfect secret bar because you don't know anyone there so it's always a good place to misbehave. What to drink? Something with Blue Curaçao.
1755 Davie St., Vancouver
British Columbia V6G 2K6, Canada

2. The Morrissey

1227 Granville St., Vancouver, BC V6B 2G6, Canada
Bittered Sling and Uva's Lauren Mote: So, The Morrissey has a 16 cocktail list, yeah, I helped them with that, but you can go any time of the day until 2 or 3 in the morning and have kick ass cocktails and listen to incredible music - it’s always amazing. The room is totally weird-looking, it’s all red and black and old-school. I’d have a Betty Monster, with a pint of Guinness on the side and a shot of Jamesons. I like to have three drinks at one time.
1227 Granville St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2G6, Canada

3. The Shebeen Whisk(e)y House

212 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC Canada, Canada
Jay Jones: When I want to hide from the world and have some of the best drinks and hospitality in the city...I head to the Irish Heather, weave my way past the crowded front room and through the passageway behind, sneaking into The Shebeen Whisk(e)y House. Barman Randy Gaudreau oversees one of the finest and most extensive Whisk(e)y collections in the city; with humble character and honest care.
212 Carrall St, Vancouver
BC Canada, Canada

4. Notturno

280 Carrall Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B2J1, Canada
Jason Laidlaw, veteran bartender currently at the Vancouver Rowing Club: The Notturno, where H works, right next to the Irish Heather. H makes barrel-aged cocktails, he's just one of the best cocktail bartenders in the city. I'd have a Manhattan or pretty much anything he made me.
280 Carrall Street, Vancouver
British Columbia V6B2J1, Canada

5. Calabash Bistro

428 Carrall St., Vancouver, BC V6B 2J7, Canada
Robyn Gray from PiDGiN: It's a little off the beaten path but they are one of our neighbours here in Gastown and they have a really great rum selection, the most of any bar in the city and they make amazing cocktails. Try the Dark and Stormy there which they make with house-made ginger beer - it's to die for.
428 Carrall St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2J7, Canada

6. The Union

219 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2, Canada
Donnie Wheeler, self-styled "guerrilla bartender" says: Check out the Union Bar, a barman like no other Arthur Wynne minds the stick there. It's southeast Asian/South Pacific in its mindset. Fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients are their forte; it often looks like an Asian farmers market behind the bar. The Phuket Coconut Spritzer is wonderful - its "slap in the face/ then reach around" balance makes me crave one just thinking about it, but it's the staff and Arthur that seal the deal everytime.
219 Union St, Vancouver
BC V6A 2B2, Canada

7. Narrow Lounge

1898 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3B7, Canada
Reflections and Cuchillo's Julia Diakow is a fan of the Narrow Lounge: They're not really doing anything too crazy with their cocktail list but have a good mix of classics and darker spirits. It's a wicked hidden gem; a grimy door outside leads to an artsy-type-meets-dive-bar inside. It's got a real Seattle-vibe and it's good for people watching and a beer with a shot of whiskey.
1898 Main St, Vancouver
BC V5T 3B7, Canada

8. Ouisi Bistro

3014 Granville Street, Vancouver, Canada V6H 3J8, Canada
The Keefer's Dani Tatarin: I first discovered this place when I moved to Vancouver almost 12 years ago as a brunch place - they have awesome Mint Juleps...but I quickly learned they were open late and also have a great night atmosphere, drinks, spirit selection and live music. They are on Granville & 14th so it's a bit out of my East Van/Chinatown bubble but I love it.
3014 Granville Street, Vancouver
Canada V6H 3J8, Canada

9. Grub

4328 Main St., Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9, Canada
Sean Hewlett from Bambudda: This was the first Vancouver bar to serve an exclusively gin menu and they have a full punch programme too. It's a tucked-away little gem of a place where I first had a Pimm's Cup. Oh! And it is one of the best spots in the city for Valentine's Day.
4328 Main St., Vancouver
BC V5V 3P9, Canada

10. The Shameful Tiki Room

Canada
Grant Sceney from the Fairmont Pacific Rim: The Shameful Tiki Room is typically not within my normal cocktail circuit but I love going there when I can venture out to Main and 28th. There really isn’t anything like it in the city, from the moment you walk in, it’s as they say ‘a bygone tiki era experience’. It’s a great small intimately lit room with a good selection of tropical rum cocktails and tapas. If you’re feeling adventurous, I suggest ordering the ‘the mystery bowl’.